Tuesday, 17 October 2017

It's Time To #CleanUpCashOut...

Every second day the menace of E-Waste makes its way to the headlines in national dailies. Yet, my cries in agony seem to fall on deaf ears. They say 'Old is Gold' and even though I am a golden ager, by all means, nobody seems to care enough to value me in brass or bronze, leave alone the precious yellow metal.

Gone are the days of yore wherein I was assembled in a top-notch factory adhering to all laid out safety standards, complete with best-in-class specifications, handled with care to be encased in a brand new sturdy packaging - those were the days! :)

Now, its an all new and sad ball game all-together wherein there are a plethora of brands each rolling out a new phone - dare you to say smart! It was my time when we were truly smart, me and my comrades - today's fancy pieces are all with similar specs, just twisted explanations with some technical jargon for spice to lure potential customers, every other day! Are they manufacturing phones or ice-cream - rolling out new flavors every other weekend - for Christ's sake!

As phones, correction - smartphones - we were prized possessions - replacing round-dial landlines and cordless phones - who were our forefathers. As for today's spoiled brats, there is not an ounce of reverence for in them for their senile counterparts like me.

I have a heavy sense of neglect draining through my circuitry at this moment. I feel as if the world will come crashing upon me to finally tear apart my components as I lie helpless with no one to pay heed to my plight. I am only able to recall the golden memories of my youth - how I was first loaded with a brand new OS by my manufacturer, then the journey to my owner who had sent word to me through one of the leading e-commerce websites in the country, and how I had spent a jolly seven years with my owner and her family. I still remember how her kids were first excited on seeing me - our first meeting was a dream come true for me.

I had the good fortune of being an indispensable part of my owner's life - making calls, listening to music, scheduling important meetings, being her BFF on work and leisure outstation trips - Oh My! - how many memorable moments had I captured for my beloved owner and her family! Most of them are her prized possessions - framed for eternity till date.

The kids used to enjoy playing games on me during their half-hour study breaks all the time. However, the same kids are today responsible for my tattered condition. Goofing around with their games, and occupying more than their individual designated break time lead to a tussle between the kids and I was angrily snatched from them by my owner. Such a dramatic scene it was, that I was sent flying to the ceiling, and hit the revolving blades of the fan. All for me to sport a large crack all across my display. It was all an accident, I agree. But, no one else apart from me had to bear the consequences. Thankfully, all my functionality was intact. In spite of that, I could see my seven-year-lifetime gradually coming to an end.

Just like one vice overshadows a hundred good qualities, that one aesthetic flaw sent all my first-class features down the drain. Gradually, my owner gave in to societal pressures of flaunting a phone that had an as-good-as-new screen and I was packed off in a cardboard box and dumped in one corner of the house with all other previous phones owned by the family to lend me a shoulder and share their sob stories of having undergone a similar experience, ending up with a couple of defects that rendered them useless.

Even though my owner used to miss me badly, owing to the fact that her newer phone did not sport as many features and was not able to provide her as much ease of use as I used to, the least she could do for me was to take me to a couple of repair shops to explore if I could be cured of my defect. My seven-year-long sturdiness was an asset once-upon-a-time but had become a liability now! Similar was the plight of most of my box-mates who had been loyal to my owner long enough for their spare parts like screens, keys, and accessories to vanish from the market.

I was back to the cardboard box for as long as it seemed until a good samaritan came visiting. Turns out, that my owner was shifting cities owing to her kids' higher education and my box mates and I had been put up one of the leading resale websites in the country. It was their time to #CleanUpCashOut.

After a week of us being put up, this gentleman made way to my owner's place for paying a fortune to take me with him. It was my moment of truth. This gentleman was willing to pay way beyond what the website said was my estimated resale value! I was surprised, joyous, and sad, all at the same time.

Turns out, I was a Limited Edition piece and that person was a gadget freak who loved to collect vintage smartphones. Just that, it never occurred to my owner that I was an exquisite creation. However, this person would not collect phones like me to be valued as antique memorabilia, but dismantle them, and sell off the components for a bigger fortune! This would be the biggest nightmare. It would mean that I would be strangled to death!

While my owner was happy that she had finally bid adieu to me with my custody being in safe hands, my journey was far from over. It was too late a realization as I had already left my owner's place with this devil of sorts. How I cursed those kids for having played past their break time enough to anger their mother in the first place. But no, that was not how my end was meant to be. For it was bound to happen that this person was robbed at gunpoint at the petrol pump wherein the thieves ran off with his car and all his belongings including me. I was never more thankful enough for the concept of robbery being known to the world than at that point in time.

The robbers planned to sell all that they had stolen to amass a fortune just in time for the festival of Diwali. I was relieved that at least I would reach my next stop in one piece. Little did I know that this next stop would be none other than filthy sewage which would lead me to the garbage dump, thanks to the robbers being chased and frightened by stray dogs just when those people were on their way to sell me for whatever less or more they could get in exchange.

Damn that sewage which accounts for the liquid damage that dampened three-fourths of my circuitry, and caused my keys to fall out too. Now, I have not only the cracked display but these additional defects also to blame for my tattered condition. And, it's not that I lay in any other garbage dump. It is a huge pile of E-Waste that I am a part of now. I believe my abode at this moment must be humongous enough to be seen from space, providing stiff competition to The Great Wall of China.

It has been two weeks that I have been lying in this filthy dump. There are all sorts of antique gadgets in our midst. Sir Graham Bell and Sir Babbage would be proud and heartbroken at the same time! Each day, a couple of cranes come, grasp some of us who are breathing our last, and crush us to bite the dust. While I have been fortunate enough to survive the ordeal since a week or two now, I have no clue on how I'll be able to sustain my instinct to survive. Until I perish, I might as well persist.

So, if you wouldn't want your gadgets to end up as E-Waste in as pitiable a condition as mine, you might as well pay a visit here and utilize the coupon code CLEANCASH to earn a bit more value than being offered elsewhere in exchange for your loyal but inefficient gadgets that have been biting the dust at home for quite some time now. Wouldn't you want to #CleanUpCashOut in an effective manner this festive season? :)

Monday, 16 October 2017

#CelebratingSuper: Smart Delhi Initiative...


Delhi is the capital city of our country. It has been the harbinger of opportunities for people from all over the nation across multiple walks of life. Of late, it has been bearing the brunt of harboring a tattered canvas as far as the scenario for the provision of basic civic amenities is concerned.

Time and again, our environment has been bearing the brunt of how we perceive the quality of life, which by and large, has also been witnessing a downward curve. Amidst all this, we must act in wake of leaving behind a positive legacy for future generations to treasure, in terms of working towards the betterment of quality of life.

With technological advancements and a realization of 'giving back to nature and society' on the rise, we seem to have sidelined the fact that scarcity of resources is a harsh reality that stares us in the face. While we witness diminishing green cover all across the 'stone garden' city that Delhi has become, the newest fad to catch our fancy in recent times is the catchphrase 'Smart City'.

At this point in time, it is of utmost importance to realize that flaunting the title of being a 'Better City' is of higher importance than that of a 'Smart City'. However, there is a certain camaraderie that persists between the two as initiatives to becoming the former contribute to turning into the latter in the long run as well.

The Ministry of Urban Development has stolen the limelight in this scenario with its undoubtedly ambitious and visionary 'Smart Cities Mission 2020' of which the capital city is an indispensable part. Betterment of quality of life is a crucial aim herein which begins with urban reforms of the likes of sanitation, good governance, and sustainable living.

Digitization seems to have become the ultimate keyword in wake of PM Modi's visionary dynamism. In keeping with the same, 'NDMC 311: Mobile App' aims to digitize household services such as bill and tax payments, consumer redressal, and even birth and death certificates and is now operational, with the inclusion of additional features by December 2017 on NDMC's radar.

While a 3D painting speed breaker had been first introduced on Rajaji Marg by NDMC late last year on the persuasion of Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, who had tweeted on trying out 3D paintings used as virtual speed breakers to avoid unnecessary requirements of speed breakers, a new sensor-based street lighting system to be completed by January 2018 is on the cards wherein light would be dimmed across non-peak traffic hours to provide for energy consumption. NDMC has claimed that Mother Teresa Crescent and Minto Road would be one of the first areas to feature such smart poles.

Beautification of Delhi's open spaces is also on NDMC's agenda by the means of vertical gardens and large-scale landscaping. Given the fact that The Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) under The Ministry of Urban Development itself has been devising an 'Art Master Plan' for Delhi since quite some time now. As a matter of fact, Lodi Colony, Shahpur Jat, and Connaught Place are some of the upmarket areas that have been flaunting aesthetic creations by artists in the form of wall art and graffiti since quite some time now.

Smart classrooms have gradually become the talk of the town too here in Delhi, with a number of private schools (largely) opting for the same, thus providing a push to e-learning, which is again in line with digitization to a certain extent.

The Safe Cities Index (a report that analyses urban safety on four main parameters: digital security, health security, infrastructure security, and personal security) has ranked Delhi 43rd amid a total of 60 cities, in its recently released 2017 report. It is a bummer that India has a long way to scale as far as citizen security is concerned, and grassroots efforts are required as far as the safety of women, children, senior citizens, and differently-abled is concerned.

As far as I can recall, a notable initiative that comes to mind is the Pink Auto Brigade, now prevalent in Noida and Gurugram.

As an area of concern, basic civic amenities also have been witnessing a positive trend with the establishment of Swachh Public Toilet Units (PTUs), a number of which sport a solar rooftop panel and sanitary pad vending machines, in addition to being accessible via Google Maps, which is by and large, an attempt to curb the menace of open defecation. Accessibility on the digital front, in general, is complemented by Vodafone's provision of a number of Free Wi-Fi Zones across the periphery of the city.

In the wake of Supreme Court's applause-worthy ruling of a blanket ban on the sale and use of crackers in Delhi, celebrating a Green Diwali is on the cards. Personally, I had shunned the practice close to a decade back, and we have since then been indulging in appreciating the twinkling of earthen lamps and fairy lights.

Contributing to the same, Vodafone Delhi has provided Super Crackers at 52 Vodafone stores in the week before the festivities commence, starting today (16 Oct -19 Oct). These Super Crackers are filled with eco-friendly plant seeds. All one needs to do is plant it and let the plant bloom. This is how the realization of 'paying back' the environment can be fruitfully witnessed.

On the whole, #CelebratingSuper is of utmost importance, be it an individual effort or a collective one. Though the road to becoming a 'Smart City' is still a long one for times to come, Delhi is certainly becoming a 'Better City' by the minute. :)


This post has been written for #CelebratingSuper in association with Vodafone and IndiBlogger. 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Demystifying #PalmyraLaunch At The Bristol...

The Bristol, Gurgaon is hands-down, the most legendary property when it comes to hotels in NCR. Marketed as a Luxury Business stopover, it attracts both leisure and business travelers.

Recently, their all-day dining multi-cuisine restaurant Palmyra underwent a revamp which led to its re-launch thanks to a change of hands on the managerial level.

Palmyra, as the in-house coffee shop, has undergone a sea change with their re-done interiors and a re-designed menu comprising Buffet and Ala Carte options spanning multiple cuisines as well.

Palmyra is well-lit during the day and offers indoor as well as outdoor seating provision. 

Present on the occasion were the CEO of The Bristol, Dr. Amit Modi, and VP of The Bristol, Mr. Mehul Sharma, who shared their insight on how Palmyra's relaunch was in keeping with The Bristol's attempt to enhance the F&B experience provided to patrons at The Bristol.

Dr. Amit Modi (L) and Mr. Mehul Sharma

The unveiling was complemented by an exclusive with Palmyra's Executive Chef Anil Dahiya who went ahead to showcase a fusion of Indian and International cuisines on the palate by whipping up a 'Southern Spiced Risotto'.

Chef Dahiya

Thereafter, a delectable buffet spread spanning Indian as well as International cuisines was laid for attendees to relish.

The signature dish for the day being Chef Dahiya's 'Southern Spiced Risotto'.

For those of you who are wondering how elegantly Chef Dahiya brought forward a fusion of Indian and Italian cuisines on the plate, here is a visual account of the MasterClass presented by Chef himself. Do take notes if you wish to replicate the preparation! :)


On the whole, The Bristol has set the right step forward as far as an overhaul of the F&B experience at the property is concerned. 

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Leisure Gaming With Reycreo...

Reycreo, a platform geared to facilitate game discovery and adoption in frontier markets, has been launched recently by U2opia . Reycreo is a Spanish word meaning playground, and thus it has been introduced as a pool of easy-to-play games meant to cater to people of all ages.

Gamers at Reycreo have a provision to immerse themselves into an all – you – can – play offering of over five hundred browser-based bite-size games. This also serves as a simplification to the gaming world wherein the provision to play is available on a single platform on any device.

All the games listed on Reycreo are played online on their website. The platform covers a wide range of categories namely Action, Arcade, Adventure, Puzzles, and Logic. Users can play all the games on any browser anytime without downloading.

A wide range of games can be played on any device, anywhere, any number of times. With multiple language support, time can easily be idled away, provided one has access to mobile data or Wi-Fi connection.

Reycreo is a global platform with audience in South Africa, India, Malaysia, Cameroon, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Indonesia, Bissau and Kenya. The mobile gaming market has huge potential in the frontier markets.

By 2020, the mobile gaming industry in next three years may grow up to 60%, as per suggestive trends. U2opia is actively signing up strategic partners to introduce downloadable premium games with a specific focus on localized gaming content along with global favorites.

Games listed on Reycreo are HTML5 games, thus promising low data consumption and compatibility with both smart phones and feature phones.

A number of games like Chess, Billiards, Carrom, and Table Tennis were available at the launch for patrons to enjoy as well.

Sumesh Menon, Co-Founder and MD, U2opia Mobile, on the occasion of the launch said,

With Reycreo, our ambitions are to handhold first-time gamers through the exciting myriad world of game content. We are cognizant of challenges of high-speed bandwidth, handset compatibility and access to payment channels that are in some ways curtailing rapid game adoption. Reycreo is working towards solving for these systematically.

On the whole, Reycreo emerges as a promising platform for gamers in India, providing an unprecedented variety and an economical price point. 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Therapeutic Rejuvenation At Kairali...

Ayurveda has been the sole science since ancient times whose therapies and practices have been beneficially integrated with general wellness applications and as well in some cases in medical use. 

There are also twenty Gunas (qualities or characteristics) which are considered to be inherent in all substances, organized in ten pairs: heavy/light, cold/hot, unctuous/dry, dull/sharp, stable/mobile, soft/hard, non-slimy/slimy, smooth/coarse, minute/gross, and viscous/liquid.

Backed by the solid ground of Ayurveda research, Kairali Ayurvedic Group is the brainchild of Mr. K.V. Ramesh and Mrs. Gita Ramesh, that since its inception in 1989 has built on the achievements of its forefathers, developing its product infrastructure to make a diverse range of Ayurvedic medicines available to a multi-national audience.

Kairali's newest Ayurvedic Treatment Centre has set base in Sector 43, Gurgaon, and in this post, I am elucidating my experience of being at the pleasant receiving end of their Ayurvedic Package rightfully christened 'Royal Makeover'.

A consolidation of seven therapies backed by Ayurveda as a science, the Royal Makeover at Kairali's newest setup believed by them to be a sanctuary of holistic health, healing, and therapy spans a good 150 minutes i.e. three hours.

The centre at Sector 43 spans a good green cover with a floral welcome and a Lord Ganesha idol at the entrance. The reception area has also been tastefully designed to provide an imitation of the Ayurvedic Healing Village at Palakkad with a brass lamp and bells as a chandelier and Kairali's Ayurvedic products on display, the most prominent of which is their Herbal Tea, served post-therapy to all patrons.

Also prominently highlighted on the walls are five classical elements or पञ्चभूत, viz. earth, water, fire, air, and ether, and three elemental substances, called Vata, Pitta, and Kapha.

The therapy rooms are tastefully designed with woodwork and are spacious enough.

There is also a Shirodhara vessel in each room to facilitate therapy. 

The regimen of Royal Makeover is split into two rounds comprising head massage (शिरो-अभयंग), foot massage (पद प्रक्षालनम), and body massage (अभयंगम) in the former, and powder massage, face massage (मुख-अभयंग), eye massage (नेत्र तर्पणम), and steam bath in the latter.

It is indeed a rejuvenating experience once you step into Kairali and after you emerge from the therapy. It is much-needed self-care and self-love i.e. Me Time personified thanks to the science of Ayurveda that Kairali puts into practice. :)